At Last 
by Darby Ross

Disclaimer:  all characters and certain plots are the sole property of Tristar and no infringement is intended.  New characters and this idea is all of my imagination

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At Last
by Darby Ross

Revelations:  Chapter 1

Gary tapped the desk with his pencil, deep in thought.  The door to the office opened up and he heard the tapping of Marissa's cane.  He looked up and smiled.  "Hey  you!  I didn't realize you were back.  What are you doing here? Slow news day?"  She asked.

"Hmm, kind of busy thismorning.  Nothing else till this evening.  I'm just killing time on the books till then."  Gary answered.

"Things have been kind of slow withthe paper lately.  I wonder what is going on?"  Marissa wondered as she sat down.

Gary scratched his head.  "Who knows?  I give up on trying to figure this thing out.  There's been hardly anything in it for the last couple of weeks, but every time I tried to make a date with Brigatti, something came up.  No wonder she dumped me."

"Have you ever thought that maybe the paper was keeping you from making a mistake.  That maybe it was saving you for your one true love?"  Marissa questioned.

"I had my one true love and she dumped my stuff out of a two story window on our anniversary."  Gary responded.

"You don't believe that.  If you did you wouldn't still be moping around here complaining about not having a family."  Marissa scolded.

Gary looked at his watch.  "Marissa, I've gotta run."

"Okay, Gary. But if you are unhappy with how things are going in your life all you have to do is change them."

"Easy for you to say.  You and Emmitt are happily married, still experiencing the joy of being newlyweds.  You're married, Chuck's married, everybody is married but me.  If something doesn't change soon, I'll end up like Lucius Snow.  Old and alone with nothing for company but the cat and this paper."  He said tapping against his hand.  He glanced at his watch again.  "I really gotta go. See ya."


Bailey sat straddle the railing of the Lake Street bridge, watching the sun set through the lens of her camera.  One last shot as the sun dropped below the horizon.  Leaving only a pink glow.  She sighed.  It was truly a beautiful sight.  The sun set between the old buildings of the Chicago skyline.  Just one more shot. The city aglow now with lights.  She grasped the strap of her camera and eased it down onto the sidewalk, then grabbed hold of the railing and put her foot on the stub sticking out of the rail. She was stiff from sitting too long.  She put her weight on her foot and shifted her balance, when suddenly her foot
slipped and she toppled over the railing.

"Photographer Falls to Her Death".

"Just after sunset last night, photographer, Bailey Vandercliff fell to her death from the Lake Street bridge.  Miss Vandercliff was apparently taking pictures when she slipped and fell.  The body was recovered from the Chicago Riverapproximately 9 p.m.  last evening."  Gary looked around.  He didn't see anyone.  He looked at the article again.  He was in the right place, right time.

Bailey tightened her grip on the railing.  If she could just get her leg up on the bridge, she could pull herself up.  Man, her arms were  tired.  She swung her leg up and her grip slipped.  She cried out just as someone grabbed her wrist.  "It's okay.  I've got you."  Someone said.  Strong arms pulled her up and over the railing.  She held onto him.  "Thank you!'

She said breathlessly as she hugged him.  She realized she was holding on a little too long.  "I'm sorry.  I just had to get my legs underneath me so to speak."  She apologized.

"That's okay.  Are you all right?"  Gary asked.

"Yes, I am now.  I am so glad you were here. I wasn't really scared until now.  I guess I didn't have time to think about anything other than getting back on the bridge." She said.  A quiver in her voice.

"Can I drive you someplace?"  Gary offered.

"No thanks, um my car is just over there."

"Are you sure you're all right to drive?"  He asked.

"Yeah, I'm fine now.  Thank you again."  She reached inside her bag and pulled out a business card.  "If you ever need any pictures taken.  Give me a call.  No charge.  In gratitude."  He took the card.

"You're welcome."  He smiled and looked at the card and put it in his pocket.  "Let's get you to your car."

"I'll take your picture, free of charge.  How dumb can you sound Bailey?"  She thought to herself.


"Meow!"  Gary stretched and rubbed his eyes.  "Just one morning could I sleep in just 30 minutes?"  He grumbled as he opened the door. "Morning, flea bag."


"All right, give me a minute.  Tuna okay this morning?  Well it will have to be.  It's all I've got."  He said as he sat the can down.  He opened the paper.  "Well what have you got for me today."  He said as he scanned the headlines.  "Accident injures two.
Purse snatcher strikes in park. Good Samaritan injured in fall.

"An unidentified woman fell from a tree in Grant Park yesterday, at approximately 10:30 a.m. in an attempt to rescue a child's pet cat.  Information relating to her injuries are not being released at this time."  "Hmm.  I'm surprised it's not me."  Gary mumbled as he absentmindedly scratched the cat's head.

After a shower and getting dressed, he headed downstairs.  Marissa was already at the bar.  "Good morning, Gary. It is such a beautiful morning."  Marissa stated.  "Of course it couldn't be, because you're deliriously in love could it?  Gary shook his head.

"So, I am happy.  I can't help it.  You'll find someone someday too."

"Hmmph!"  Gary snorted.

"Okay.  No lecture this morning.  You'll find love when you're not looking."  Marissa advised.

"I've been not looking for the last 5 years."  Gary said as he walked out the door.

Gary had taken care of all of this mornings stories, but one.  He headed to Grant Park .  He looked at the article again.  The tree was near the swing sets.  He headed in that direction.  He saw a little girl looking up at a tree.  "Be careful.  Don't drop him."  She called out. Gary ran forward arms outstretched, when he heard the branch snap.


The little girl ran over.  "Are you okay?"  She asked as she reached for her cat.

"Here you go."  Bailey turned to look at the man she had landed on.  "You!"  They said in unison.

"Oh, here let me get off of you."  Bailey cried out as she moved.

"Are you hurt?"  Gary asked.

Bailey began to laugh.  "I think I am, but how are you?  Gosh, let me get off of you."  She said in between giggles.  "I'm all right."

Gary said as he started to laugh also.  She managed to slide off of him. He got up and grunted causing them to laugh more.  He bent to help her up.  "Wait.  I can't move."  She said.  Gary stopped laughing and a look of deep concern came over his face.  "Oh, no,no.  I just can't stop laughing is all.  I'm too weak.  Okay.  Here we go."  He pulled her up and she leaned against him, his arms wrapped around her.

"You hurt your leg?"  He asked, noticing she held one leg off the ground.

"Yeah.  It  could have been much worse though.  How did you know?"

"Oh, well.  Just right place right time I guess.  I just happened to be walking by and saw someone in the tree and....."

"You don't have a big red S under there do you?"  She asked tapping his chest.


"I don't know you, just remind me of Superman. Nice guy, boy next door image who saves the world.  Or at least me on two occasions.  I don't even know your name."

"Gary.  Gary Hobson."  he replied.

"Well, thank you again, Gary Hobson.  "OW!  Could I trouble you this time to help me to the hospital? I'm really in pain here."

"Yeah, yeah.  Sure."

"How is she?"  Gary asked.

"I'm sorry but we can only give that information to family members."  He looked at his watch.  "I have to leave.  Can you at least go in and tell her I have to go?  Here.  Give her this."  Scribbling a note on a piece of paper and handing it to the nurse.

"It was the same girl?  Twice in one week?  Hmm." Marissa pondered.

"It was kind of a strange coincidence.  Don't you think?"  Gary asked.

"In class we studied Carl Young and his theory of synchronicity.  He says that all coincidences happen for a reason.  Gary you have learned with the paper that, that is true." Marissa stated.

"Do you think I should call and check on her?  I feel bad for just leaving her at the hospital like that."

Marissa smiled.  "Yes, I think you should call her.  Um,Gary.  What does she look like?"  She asked.

"She has kind of medium  length, brown straight hair, these really beautiful eyes and....What difference does it make what she looks like?  She hurt herself and I had to leave her at the hospital.  Calling to check on her is  only the polite thing to do."  He snapped.  Marissa giggled softly.

"Whatever reason you have, just call her."  Gary picked up the phone.

"Do you mind?"  Marissa smiled as she left the office.


"She wasn't there.  I left a message on her machine.  I don't know why I expected her to be home.  It  is a Saturday night. What
if she had to stay at the hospital?"  Gary scratched his head as he scanned the bar.  He did a double take.  "It's her, Marissa. Over by the pool tables."

"Who?"  Marissa asked innocently.

"Who? Her!"

"Oh, her. Well go talk to her Gary."


Chapter 2

   Gary started across the bar.  He stopped and looked back at Marissa. He could do this.  He said to himself.  He turned back around.  "Gary? Hi!"  Bailey said and waved to him.  His stomach did a flip.

"Hello, Bailey.  I just called you."  He said motioning with his hand toward the office.  "I wanted to see how you were doing.  I felt bad for just leaving you at the hospital, but I had an,ah, appointment I had to keep."  He explained.

"I'm doing  much better.  Just a pulled muscle. I have to wear this brace a few more days is all."  She looked at this tall, handsome man in front of her.  "Are you real."  She said out loud.

He got a puzzled look on his face.  "Huh?"

She smiled, embarrassed that  she had spoken her thoughts aloud.  "You're polite, chivalrous, downright cute.  I didn't think guys like you still existed." She cleared her throat. "Thank you for checking on me."

Gary blushed and started to stutter.  "Well, I, I was..."

Bailey laughed.  "I'm sorry. I embarrassed you.  I think the pain pills have gone to my head.  Play me a game of pool?"  She asked.

"I wouldn't want to take advantage of you in your weakened state."  Gary teased.

"Is that a challenge?"  She smiled coyly.  "You're on."

Encouraged by their banter, "Pick your cue and be prepared to lose."  He said as he turned toward the cue rack.

"Bailey?  Are you all right?"  You look like you've seen a ghost." He asked worriedly.  Bailey reached for a chair and sat down.  She looked up at Gary.  I just had the weirdest sense of dejavu'.  Sorry.  It was just.  Never mind.  I'm okay now.  So.  you think you can beat me?"


"Gary, I am going to head home now."  Marissa said.

"Oh, sure.  Hey Emmitt.  Bailey.  This is Marissa, my partner here at McGinty's and her husband Emmitt.  Marissa, Emmitt.  This is Bailey."  Gary introduced.

"Hello.  Nice to meet you both.  Marissa, you look so familiar.  Could we have met before?"  Bailey asked.

"I don't think so.  Your voice doesn't sound familiar.  Maybe we passed on the street." Marissa answered.  They said their good-byes.

"And you were saying?"  Gary asked bringing Bailey back to the here and now.  She was sure she had seen Marissa before.  She just couldn't place where.

"Do you really want to hear this?  It's pretty boring. "  Bailey stated flatly.

"Hey, you had me tell you all the sordid details of my youth."  Gary laughed.

She liked his laugh.  "Sordid. Ha!"

"Hey, when it involves Chuck Fishman, it is usually sordid."

"All right.  You asked for it.  If you get bored it's your own fault.  My dad was in the Army.  Fought in Vietnam and made a career of the Army for a while.  We moved all over.  Germany, Italy, Japan, California.  I was a real Army brat.  Dad got a job in D.C.  Then when I was eleven he started working for the American Embassy in London.  I went to private school and just
hated it. I always felt like an outsider.  I wanted to go to school in the states.  Go to football games, hang out like a regular kid"  She stirred the ice in her glass with her finger as she spoke. " As it was, the only fun I had was playing tennis and riding horses.  I was pretty good at tennis.  So my Dad hired a personal coach.  I played some amateur matches and won.  I started in the pro's the spring of '83.  But I fell off my horse and broke my ankle.  So that put me out of competition."  She explained.

"I was having a rough go of it."  She paused wondering if she should tell him everything.  Not yet.  "So I ended up here in Chicago.  My grandfather thought it might do me some good to spend the summer with him.  That was the best summer of my life.  I never did pursue my tennis career.  I still play.  Even give free lessons when I can."  She sighed. " My grandfather gave me a camera that summer and photography became my new passion.  I went home and finished out high school, at my father's
insistence.  I really wanted to stay here in Chicago with my grandfather."

"When I graduated high school, I went to college at USC.  got my degree and I began traveling the world all over again.  I was the White House photographer for a while, had a studio in Paris, then back to California.  Photographer to the stars."  She laughed.  "Anyway, I really started missing Chicago and three months ago, I packed up and moved.  So here I am.  You can yawn now. I know you are dying to."  She joked.

"If you loved Chicago so much, how come you went to college in California?" Gary asked.

"My grandfather died in January of the following year and I couldn't bear to come here at that time.  Thatsummer was the first time I had ever met my grandfather.  We had kept in touch over the years through letters, but my father had never allowed me
to meet him.  My dad thought Grandpa was crazy.  He didn't really even want me to read his letters.  The summer I came here, my mother insisted that I be allowed to come. My grandfather may have been a little eccentric, but he was a wonderful man.  He made me feel so special and taught me so much in that one short summer."

"Both my parents died in a single car accident just months after I started college.  Their bodies weren't found until days later.  My life kind of headed into a tailspin all at once and I got through it on things I learned from my Grandfather.  But coming back here wasn't something I was ready to do until now.  I thought it was time to come home, so I did."

 They sat in a booth talking as the last employee clocked out. "Goodnight, Mr. Hobson."


"I better get home.  Look at the time." Bailey commented.

"Did you drive?"  Gary asked.

"No, I took the EL.  Can I use a phone to call a cab?"

"I'll take you home."

"Oh, I don't want to put you out.  You've saved my life twice.  I can't ask you to do any more for me." She stated.  "You didn't ask me and I would really like to drive you home."

Gary walked her to her door.  "Thank you again, Gary.  You're a sweetheart."  She stepped up and hugged him.  He hugged her back.  Lord this felt right.  "I really enjoyed myself tonight, Gary.  I hope I didn't bore you with my life story."  He smiled slightly.

"No. You didn't bore me.  Maybe we can do it again sometime?"  He asked hopefully.

Her smile lit up her face.  "I would love to.  Only next time I won't let you beat me at pool."

"Let me beat you?  I won fair and square!"

"Well, I guess we'll just have to have a rematch and find out."  She teased.

"Oh, Okay.  Sure we can, um, I'll call you then?" He stammered.

"You do that, Gary."  She said and closed her door.



She stood at the end of the aisle. He was there in front of her. Mist swirled around her. "Turn around! " She tried to cry out, but her voice was silent. Please turn around so I can see you.  Bells ringing, bells ringing.

Bailey sat up in bed. The phone. "Hello."

"Hey, did I wake you?" Emily asked.

"That's okay. What time is it?" She said rubbing her eyes to clear them.

"Your time or my time?" Emily laughed.

Bailey groaned. "Never mind. I was having that dream again."

"I thought you had quit having that?" Emily inquired. They had been friends since their first year in college. Emily still lived in L.A. She worked as a hair and makeup artist for a movie studio.

"I had. But since I've been here, there have been a lot of strange things happening. But some really nice things also." Bailey told her about her two accidents and meeting Gary.

"Three times, in as many weeks. That seems awfully coincidental doesn't it? So tell me about him." She pleaded. Bailey gladly obliged. She missed her friend a great deal.


"Good morning, Gary."

"Goooood Morning, Marissa. A beautiful day today isn't it."

"Someone is in a good mood this morning. So have you called Bailey? You have talked about her all week." Marissa stated.

"Yes I did. As a matter of fact. And we have a date tonight. We are going to dinner and to Navy Pier." Gary said.

"You have date?"

"Yes. Dinner is usually a date." He stated dryly.

Marissa laughed. "Since when? With Erica and Detective Brigatti it was just dinner."

"Ha, ha, ha. Gotta run. I'll call you later." He said as he left.

Marissa shook her head smiling. "That boy's got it bad."

He felt somewhat guilty arranging his date around the paper. But tonight the paper seemed to be cooperating. He had to stop a
person from choking at Nick & Tony's then keep a child from falling over a railing at Navy Pier. Shouldn't take any time away from his date at all.

Bailey pulled her shirt over her head and tossed it on top of the pile that had accumulated on her bed. She looked at the clock. "Please let him run late." She said out loud. She scanned her closet again. She pulled the hangers across the rod. Nope, nope, nope. Wait. She pulled the bag out of the closet. She ripped the plastic off.  Inside were clothes she had taken to the cleaners when she first moved here. She made a mental note to get more organized. She put on a black pair of jeans again. Then put on an ivory silk blouse with scrolled design on the collar in tan and black. She tucked it in and pulled a black belt through the loops. Slipped her feet into black ankle boots and laced them up. She quickly twisted her hair up into a clip. She put on a pair of simple gold earrings and a delicate gold chain. She put on some lipstick just as the doorbell rang. Her butterflies were fierce.
She took a couple of deep breaths in an attempt to calm herself. She opened the door. How handsome he looked. He was wearing a beige turtleneck with a beige overshirt, blue jeans, brown hiking boots and a brown leather jacket. He held in his hands a beautiful bouquet of flowers. They smiled at each other.

"For you." He said as he held out the bouquet.

"They are beautiful. Thank you. Come on in while I put these in a vase." Gary looked around. The apartment had a clean look
about it. A little on the bare side. "Forgive my place. I'm still trying to get settled. My extra bedroom is full of unpacked boxes. There just never seems to be enough time to get it all done. There. I'm ready when you are." Gary held open the door for her. Bailey grabbed the purse and they left.

Gary had made reservations and they were seated right away. They ordered and as they waited they talked. Their dinner arrived and they began to eat. Gary glanced at his watch. He then pulled the paper from his back pocket and looked at the article. "Local banker, Adam Harrison, choked to death at Nick and Tony's last night at approximately 8 p.m." Gary checked his watch again. 7:58. He looked around the restaurant. He put the paper in his back pocket. Bailey watched him. He was in his own world.

"Gary? Is everything okay?" She asked.


"Are you okay?"She asked again.

"Um uh huh." He mumbled as he continued to look around. That was when he spotted him. In a far corner of the restaurant. Dining alone. He had his hand to his throat, and a panicked look on his face. Gary got up and sprinted across the room. He handed the man his napkin and told him to hold it over his mouth. He grabbed him around the midsection and lifted up. Again. The man began to cough. Gary patted him on his back.

"Can we get some water over here." Gary heard Bailey ask. He turned to see her standing beside him. She had a stupefied look
on her face. The waiter arrived with water and she held the glass as he poured water into it. She handed it to the man. He drank. He cleared his throat.

"Thank you! I thought I was a goner."

"You're welcome. You okay?"Gary asked. The man assured him he was. Gary led Bailey back to their table. She was very quiet as they finished eating. Gary motioned for the check.

"You're bill has been taken care of by the gentleman whose life you saved." The waiter said.

"That was nice of him." Gary said as he wiped the corners of his mouth and dropped the napkin on the table."

"It must happen to you a lot." Bailey responded.


"You seem to be in the business of saving people, Gary. You remind me of my Grandfather. He was always stepping in and helping out. Like you did with me and with that man tonight. You're a good man, Gary." She praised.

"Oh, I'm just in the right place at the right time, sometimes."  Gary explained.

They walked the short distance to Navy Pier. The sun had set and the city was aglow with lights. As they walked, their hands
bumped and he softly took her hand in his. She smiled. She felt so at peace. They walked the board walk, looked through the shops and went through the gardens. Gary checked his watch. "Will you excuse me for a minute. I'll be right back." Bailey continued to look around the shop.

Gary left and went around the corner. He pulled the paper out and scanned the article. 'Four year old Annie Watkins, fell to her death last night, at approximately 10p.m., from a railing near the carousel at Navy Pier.' Gary ran to the carousel. He looked down the railing both ways. There she was. He reached her just as she toppled over the railing. He grabbed her by the shirt collar. He put his other hand under her arm and pulled her up and over the railing to safely. He heard a woman scream. "Annie!" She grabbed the girl from his arms. "Oh, thank you, thank you! Annie don't you ever walk away like that again." The woman scolded. Then she hugged her.

"Are you all right?" Gary asked. The child shook her head, seemingly unaware of how close she had come to death. Gary ran back to the shop. Bailey was just coming out. She smiled when she saw him. "Sorry, I had to go farther than I thought to find a
men's room." He said then put his arm around her and guided her in a different direction. So she would not see the restroom sign immediately to her left.

He took her hand again. "So are you ready for the ferris wheel?" I haven't rode it in years. There is really a beautiful view from there. Especially at night." Gary said. As they stood in line he realized Bailey was shaking. "Cold?"

"A little. I didn't think to bring a jacket." She responded. He took his jacket off and held it our for her to slip into. It was warm. Gary stepped into the bucket and held out his hand to help her in. The attendant shut the door and the ride moved upward. She closed her eyes. God help her she wanted to scream. "You're still shaking." Gary stated.

He turned to look at her. "Please don't move!" She cried out.

"Are you all right?" He asked worriedly.

She took a breath. "I think I will be, if you don't rock this thing any."

"You're scared?"

She giggled nervously. "Just slightly. I am afraid of heights."

Gary laughed. "You, who sits on a bridge railing to take pictures and climbs trees to rescue kittens are afraid of heights? Come here. I can assure you that you are completely safe on this ride. I promise I will protect you." He said and pulled her closer to him and wrapped his arms around her. "The key to overcoming your fear is to concentrate on something other than what you are afraid of. Look how beautiful is is up here. You can see the Sears Tower and look at the boats on the lake." Gary suggested. She listened to the sound of his voice, watched the way his lips moved when he talked. The feel of his arms around her. The warmth of his body. She sighed. It was beautiful here.

He unlocked her door for her and handed her the keys. She fumbled with them for a minute then put them in her pocket. "I had
such a wonderful time tonight, Gary." "Except for the ride on the ferris wheel." He interrupted. "If you were so scared, why did you get on it?"

"Because you were so excited about riding it. and I didn't want to disappoint you. And it wasn't that bad. I actually kind of enjoyed it."

She explained. Gary looked at her closely. The corner of his mouth twitched as if to smile. But the smile came from his eyes. Her heart beat faster in her chest. He put his hand to her face then leaned his head closer. It was the softest, most wonderful kiss she had ever received. He drew back, then kissed her again. "Goodnight, Bailey. I'll see you soon." He held on to her hand as he turned to walk away. He slowly let her hand drop. "Goodnight."
Chapter 4
"Yes, he actually called it a date. I think he really likes her. He can't stop talking about her."

"Hello there." Gary said to Marissa.

"Gary! How long have you been standing there?"

"Long enough. Who are ya talking to?" She handed him the phone. "It's your mom."

Gary groaned. "Mom?" Yes, I did have a good time. Yes, she is very nice."

"Mrs. Brown. You have a phone call. An employee told her. She left the office to take the call. "Am I going to have to play 20 questions with you? I want details." Lois stated.



"It was just a date." he said.

"So you are calling it a date." Lois gushed.

"Yes, it was a date. Don't start picking names out for your grandchildren." Gary warned.

"Don't be silly, Gary. I've already done that. But I can't help but be excited for you Gary. You haven't had a date in a long time. At least tell me where you went. You don't have to get too detailed." Lois pleaded.

"Oh, all right. We ate at Nick and Tony's then we went to Navy Pier. We walked through the shops, went through the gardens, watched some of the entertainment. But you know what Mom? She rode the ferris wheel with me." Lois could tell this had some meaning to Gary.

"I'm glad she did Gary. Why was that so special?" Lois asked.

"She's afraid of  them. Never rides them. But she didn't tell me until we were on it. She was scared and rode it anyway.  Because it was something I wanted to do. Oh, never mind. It was no big deal." Gary recanted.

Hearing the happiness in her son's voice, Lois, trying hard to swallow the lump in her throat, said, "It was a big deal Gary. She sounds wonderful. I hope to meet her."

"Yeah, she is pretty great." Gary responded. He turned as he heard a knock on the door. Bailey entered the office. Seeing he was on the phone, she waved.   He felt his heart slam against his chest. "Bailey! Hi."

"Gary is she there? Put her on the phone." Lois said.

"NO! I mean I really need to go, now. Right now. Bye." He hurried.

"Gary don't you dare hang up this phone. I just wanted to say hello. If you hang up I will just call back." Lois threatened.

Gary looked sheepishly at Bailey. "My mother would like to speak with you." She wanted to laugh at the look on his face. She took the phone from him.

"Hello? Hi, Mrs. Hobson." Bailey listened as Lois told her she just wanted to say hello and that Gary had told her nice things about Bailey and she hoped to meet her soon.

"My son hasn't passed out yet, Has he?"

Bailey laughed. Sensing that Lois had a wonderful sense of humor decided to tease Gary. "Yes, Yes it was. Yes, well of course." Bailey turned her back to Gary and lowered her voice. "Yes, he did. No, he was a perfect gentleman. Well of course I still respect him."

Gary had stepped closer to hear what she was saying. "Give me that! What did she, Did you? I didn't!" Gary stammered.

Lois laughed into the phone. "Oh, Gary. I really like her!" Gary looked at Bailey.

"Funny you two. I'm going to hang up now. Yes me too. Okay Mom. Bye."

Gary shook his finger at Bailey. "You."

"Sorry. I couldn't help it. You looked like you had just swallowed a watermelon. Your mom just wanted to say hello. She didn't say anything to embarrass you."

"No. You managed  that all on your own." He shook his head. Bailey laughed out loud.

"Loosen up Gary. Oh, here's your jacket. I forgot to give it back to you last night."

"Thank you. Thank you very much."

"Oh, come on Gary? Where is your sense of humor?" She said as she playfully punched him on the arm. Finally he smiled.

"Okay, you got me. Happy now?" He smiled.

"As long as you are." She said softly.


"I better get going. You look like your starting to get busy out there."

"Gary, excuse me." Marissa said. "Mark just called in sick. So that makes us short Lisa on the afternoon shift and Mark on the
evening shift."

"We can't call someone else in?" Gary asked.

"Jake and Eddie are on vacation and it's Mary's daughters birthday and Cara and Jim have the day off. There is no backup. Everyone we have available is working. Do you want me to call a temp agency?" She asked.

"I could help." Bailey offered. "I have nothing to do today and I have all the required licenses to handle food and mix drinks. I worked at P.J. Clarke's for about a month when I first moved here. Long story. So what do you think?"

"I think it looks like you came dressed to work." Gary said. Bailey looked down at how she was dressed, in khaki pants and a
light blue stretch cotton shirt and khaki tennis shoes. Pretty much the McGinty's uniform. All she needed was the apron.

Bailey wiped down the bar. "Come on. Just one little date?" The guy at the bar asked.

"I just don't have the time, but I do thank you. It's always nice to be wanted." She explained. The guy paid his tab and left. As he walked out Gary came in. She smiled at him and he at her. Her stomach did a flip flop. One of the employees walked up and spoke to him.

"I think that was the reason you turned down that young man down." Bailey turned to the older gentleman who had been at
the bar for the last couple of hours. Mr. Paige had lost his wife to cancer six months before. He has started coming back to Mcginty's becasue he and his wife had met here when it was a USO nightspot during WW II. "You think so, Mr. Paige?"

"My wife used to smile at me like you just smiled at him. He's a very lucky man."

"Oh, we just met a few weeks ago. I would hardly compare us to you and your wife." Bailey explained.

"I knew the first time I met my wife that she was the one for me. When it's right it doesn't take months to figure it out. Well,, I have bent your ear long enough tonight young lady. but I would have to say I have enjoyed your company."

"As I have yours." Bailey responded.

"Will I see you again?" He asked.

"Oh, you'll probably see me around."

"Hello Mr. Paige. How are you doing tonight?" Gary asked as he shook the mans hand.

"I have been completely enchanted. She reminds me of my dear Isabell. You are a very lucky young man. Good night all."

"Good night Mr. Paige." They said in unison.

"How are you holding up? You really didn't have to work both shifts. We could have called a temp agency."

"I'm doing okay. I had fun tonight." She said.

"Yeah, looks like you charmed a few of the male customers tonight."

"Oh, Mr. Paige? He just wanted someone to talk to. He's just very lonely since his wife died. It must be terrible to lose someone you have been with for almost 60 years. But I envy him those 60 years." Bailey said wistfully as she picked up the dirty glasses off the bar. Gary nodded absently. He grimaced as he moved. "Are you all right?" She asked.

"Yeah, my shoulder is just a little sore. I fell on it earlier."

"Let me finish up here and get the place closed up and I'll put something on it for you. She offered.

She dug around in his medicine cabinet until she found the ointment. "Lay down." She instructed. He took off his shirt and did
what he was told. She sat down next to him and began to massage his shoulder. He waited for her to ask what he was doing when he fell, but she didn't. This felt good. He was just so tired. He would just close his eyes for a second.

"Good morning, Chicago. It's 6:30 in the windy city, but we have no wind today. It's a beautiful sunny morning out there." There was a loud thunk. Gary sat up in bed. That wasn't the paper.


He saw Bailey's head come up from behind the couch. Gary rubbed his eyes. "Bailey, are you all right?"

"Yeah, I'm okay. I forgot I was on the couch not my bed. I, I couldn't get out last night. Everything was locked up and I hated to wake you to let me out and I didn't want to take your keys. I hope you don't mind."


Gary got up and ran to the door. He opened it and the cat ran in. Gary picked up the paper and shut the door. "Hey kitten.
Where did you come from? Is he yours?" She asked.

"Yeah, I guess he is."

"What's his name?" "I never um, well, I just call him Cat."

Bailey giggled. "Kind of like John Wayne in Big Jake? He name his dog, Dog."

"Yeah, like that." He said.

"You look just like my grandpas cat. I don't think he had a name either. Strange, huh? How's your shoulder this morning?"

He rubbed it. "Much better."

"Well, I better get out of here. Talk to you soon?" Gary followed her downstairs and let her out with a promise to call her soon.
Chapter 5
"So what are you going to do for her?" Marissa asked. Gary looked up at Marissa. Thankful she could not see the
blush creeping up his neck.

"I'm going to cook her dinner. Roast beef, carrots, potatoes, salad...." That sounds silly doesn't it?"

Marissa smiled at her friend. "No Gary it doesn't. I think she will love it."

Gary heaved a sigh of relief. "This relationship thing is a lot harder than I remember it being." He stated.

"You're in love. It's always hard when you've invested your heart." She explained.

"I don't know if I would say I am in love. I do know these last four months have been the happiest I have spent in the last four years. She is pretty great isn't she?" Even Mom and Dad like her and she likes them. I just keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. For the paper to screw it up." Gary said.

"Gary don't look for disaster. Enjoy your life as it is and just assume it will work out. So. When are you planning on telling her about the paper?"

Gary laughed. "You tell me not to look for disaster then in the next breath ask me when I'll tell her about the paper. This is the worst part of getting into a relationship. Telling them about the paper. It always turns out bad. When I finally told Toni about the paper, she almost had me hauled off to a mental hospital. Do you think there is anyway I can get by without telling her?" Gary asked hopefully.

"Gary! Bailey is different. I think she probably already suspects something. Just tell her and take it from there. If she isn't going to understand, don't you think it would be better to find out now, before you get too invested in the relationship?" Marissa

Gary started to speak when Bailey walked into the office.

"Hello, Marissa, Gary." She said as she leaned over to give Gary a quick kiss. "Here's your uniform. I picked it up for you." She said.

"This is so sweet of you to do this for Mr. Paige, Bailey.   He is just so excited about it." Marissa stated.

"Well, you only turn 80 once and he's had a rough year and I wanted to do something special for him." She explained.

"So what am I? A Private?" Gary asked as he pulled the plastic off of the costume.

"No. A Sergeant. See the stripes. Well, I've got to get busy with the decorating out there. I'll see you later."

Marissa waited till she heard Bailey leave. "Gary. Tell her about the paper. She will understand. She has a kind heart.  Just look at what she is doing for Mr. Paige. Turning McGinty's into the USO night spot it was when he met his wife. Getting in touch with his children and grandchildren to come here and surprise him. Getting everyone to show up in 40's attire. Gary she reminds me of you. Tell her about the paper."

Gary looked at the paper and scratched his head. "Yeah, maybe you're right. When the time is right."

When Gary walked into the bar that night he felt as if he had stepped back in time. He cautiously stepped back into his office
and looked at the calendar. Yep, he was still in the present. He laughed at himself. He had never told anyone about the times he ended up at the Great Chicago Fire and the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. He didn't understand, so how could he expect others to.

He re-entered the bar. Bailey was in the corner adjusting a Happy Birthday sign. She was wearing a black dress with a tiny pink rosebud print. It had a fitted top and a gored skirt. She wore black hose with a seam up the back and black pumps. Her hair was rolled across the top of her head and hung straight in the back. When she turned and saw him standing there she smiled.

"Well, Sergeant Hobson, you look very handsome." She said as she brushed the shoulders of his uniform.

"Thank you. And you look swell." He offered and they both laughed. "I can't believe what you've done with the place. It looks just like the pictures. Mr. Paige will be pleased."

Marissa and Emmitt arrived. She wore a tan colored suite with an ivory blouse, tan pumps and her hair fixed in a similar style to
Bailey's. Emmitt wore a cream colored shirt and baggy tan slacks, suspenders and spats.

Shortly the guests started to arrive. Songs from Glenn Miller, the Dorsey Brothers, Bing Crosby and others played in the background while people danced on the makeshift dance floor. Mr. Paige wept as he realized what all had been done for him. Seeing his children  and grandchildren all in one place, the place where it all started for him, made him very happy. As he danced with Bailey he expressed his gratitude.

"I know it's not the same as if your wife was here, but I wanted to bring back some of the magic for you." she told him. He grabbed her in a hug.

"My dear you have made me feel 20 again. God Bless you." His thanks brought tears to her eyes.

'At Last' began to play and someone took her hand.

"May I have this dance?" Gary asked. Bailey easily slid into his embrace. She loved to dance and felt as if she and Gary had danced together all of their lives. He leaned his cheek against hers and she sighed. She closed her eyes and was completely lost in the moment. To her dismay the song ended much too soon. 'In the Mood' began to play.

"Are you up for this?" Gary asked.

"You know how to swing dance?" She asked. Gary responded by spinning her around. The evening was magical. She knew she was hopelessly in love with Gary Hobson. He was realizing the same thing.
Chapter 6

She stood in the aisle again surrounded by a swirling mist. She looked down. She was wearing a beautiful white gown. The
halter bodice was beaded with sequins and pearls as were the straps. The full skirt was of net tulle with floral appliques scattered throughout with beads and sequins. She carried a bouquet of white lilies, tulips and orchids. She looked toward the altar. He was there. There was something so familiar about him.

"Turn around. Let me see you!" She pleaded silently. She looked around for anything familiar. People were there, but she could not make out their faces. The room was very clear, but everything else was a blur. She looked back to the man standing, waiting for her at the altar. He raised his hand and scratched his head, right above the place where his hair came to a perfect point in the back!

Bells ringing, bells ringing.

"Hello!" "Happy birthday!"

"Emily it's him" Bailey said breathlessly.


"The dream. I was just having it again. They guy in it is Gary."

"Did you see his face this time?" Emily asked.

"No but he scratched his head, something I've seen Gary do thousands of time when he's nervous. And the guy in my dream, well his hair grows to this perfect little point in the back just like Gary." Bailey explained.

"You know what you're doing don't you? You've fallen in love with this guy and you're putting him into the dream."

"I thought you did hair and makeup, not analyze people. I'm not putting Gary into the dream. When I first met Gary I had this really weird sense of dejavu. I just never put it together until now." Said Bailey.

"So what are you going to do about it Emily asked.

"I don't know! It's true I am crazy about him. Oh, who am I kidding. I love him. But I can't just walk in there and say, 'Hey Gar! You know I've been dreaming about marrying you for the last 5 years. He'll think I'm crazy." Bailey thought.


Gary had the bread buttered and would wait until she got there to put it in the oven. Everything else was done. He had set the table with candles, had the lights dimmed. Frank Sinatra was playing softly on the stereo. He looked at his watch. She should be here any minute. He wanted everything to be perfect. Just two days ago for his birthday, She had invited his parents down and had a party for him at her house with Marissa and Emmitt. They had barbequed outside and his mother had made him his favorite cake. Then to top it off she had produced tickets to the Bears-Cowboys game yesterday as his gift. It had been a long time since he had been able to go to a game. Even more amazing was the paper kept cooperating. Maybe it was time to tell her
about the paper.

There was a knock on the door. He let her in.

"Happy Birthday, Bailey." He said as he kissed her softly.

After dinner was finished and the table cleared, he gave her a box containing a silver bracelet with a gold heart charm on it. Her eyes filled with tears.

"It's lovely Gary. Thank you!" She hugged him tightly.

"You really like it?" He queried.

"Yes, this, the dinner, the music. Everything is perfect." She responded. He took the bracelet out of the box and put it on for her. Then he took her hand and pulled her close as Sinatra sang, All the Way. She listened to the words of the song.


"Bailey." They said in unison.

"You go first." They said at the same time again. They both laughed.

Gary took a deep breath.

"Bailey I have something I want to tell you." Bailey held her breath.

Just then the cat knocked over a box sitting in the corner by the bookcase.

"Get away from there. Look what you've done." Gary said, more annoyed with the cat than he had ever been. He went over to pick the things up that had fell out of the box. Bailey went to help him.

"What are you doing with these?" She asked

"It's nothing. Just some things that were given to me."

"These are my grandfathers things. How did you get them?" Bailey demanded.

"Your grandfather? Lucius Snow was your grandfather?" He asked shocked.

"Yes he was. Gary, what are you doing with his things?" She was almost hysterical. "Did you know him?"

"No, not really, I." He stammered.

"Oh my word. The paper! You think you get tomorrow's newspaper a day early, too? That is why you always carry that paper and you're always running..... No this can't be." She said incredulously.

Gary took a deep breath and scratched his head. "I do get tomorrows newspaper a day early. I've been getting it now for the last 5 years. It started coming the day after Snow died. That's how I got the cat." He tried to explain.

"My grandfather died in January of 1984, not 1996. And that can't be his cat. Do you know how old his cat would be? Gary, you're scaring me!"

"Here, look. This is tomorrows paper. Look at the date. Your grandfather didn't die in 1984. He died September 22 , 1996 at the Blackstone Holel." He explained.

"My grandfather dummied up a fake newspaper that he would go out and, in his delusional mind, change. The next day the paper would come and his stories weren't there. He thought he was actually saving peoples lives. He wasn't hurting anyone so I never really questioned him on why he did it. I loved him . He taught me it was more important to put others before myself. That I would get more happiness from life if I did for others. And Gary, my Grandpa lived at the Brown Apartments not the Blackstone. He was put in a hospital right after I went home. I sent him letters but he never answered them. In January a
telegram came that he had died. I still have that telegram."

She began to dig through the box. "I took these." She said as she pulled out pictures of Lucius Snow playing tennis, holding
up a fish, standing by the lake. She dug into the other box. Tied with a ribbon, were the letters she had sent her grandfather. In another bundle were the letters he had written her. All returned. "You knew about this and you never told me?" She accused.

Gary stood speechless. As shocked by the revelation as she was. "I never went through the other box. I don't know why. Bailey I swear. I never knew."


Chapter 7

At the bottom of the box was a telegram dated January 10, 1984. The same day she had received the telegram of her grandfather's death. She opened the envelope.

"I apologize for the delay stop Couldn't find words to explain stop Bailey killed in horse riding accident three weeks ago stop
No need to come stop There is nothing for you here stop R Vandercliff."

"My God. My father told him I had been killed and told me my Grandpa had died!" She exclaimed.

"Why would he do that?" Gary asked.

She shook her head. "I don't know. My father had never liked my Grandfather. Like I told you before we never saw him. All
of my life he wrote me though and the year I broke my ankle and my tennis career had to be put on hold, I, I, I. I need to sit down."

Gary helped her over the the sofa and brought the boxes to her. He went and got her a glass of water. Gary sat on the coffee table and took her hand in his.

Bailey looked at him and saw the concern on his face. She felt awful for accusing him of keeping this from her. It was obvious he did not realize who she was. She took a deep breath. She wanted to trust him about everything. Now was the time to tell him her secret. She took a deep breath.

"Gary, after I was hurt. I wanted to kill myself. My whole life had been geared toward being successful, making a lot of money, being famous. That was so important to my father. He was so disappointed in me and I was so unhappy with my life. It was the
stupidest thing in the world to do and luckily my grandfather knew, somehow that I was going to do it. He called just as I was about to take the pills. He talked to me, let me know how important my life was whether I became famous or was destitute. He suggested that I come stay with him for the summer. My mother was so frightened after she realized what I was about to do that she insisted to my father that I go. "

"So I ended up here for the summer. My grandfather's apartment was sparsely furnished. He had so much room in his closet. I
had never lived like that. I always had everything I ever wanted. But nothing I ever needed. He gave me what I needed that summer. I felt more loved than I ever had in my life. And I learned how good it felt to give to other people. Everyday he would get up and head out to save the world. I thought, you know, that it makes him happy to think he is helping people and along the way he helped some, I think."

Bailey's hand flew to her face. "Marissa! That is where I know her from." She got up and paced the room. Gary stood up
with a puzzled look on his face.

"I don't understand?" He stated

"I knew that Marissa looked familiar. My grandfather never took me with him when he went out. I couldn't get around with my broken ankle. I would take pictures around the neighborhood and they would let me use the dark room at the Sun-Times to
develop them. Anyway. Just right before I went home, my ankle was better, I went with him. There was a young blind girl who was being teased by some boys. They were spinning her in circles to disorientate her. My grandfather yelled at them to leave her alone and they ran off. He told me to stay where I was and he ran across the street to the girl. She was so confused she stumbled out into the street into on coming traffic. My grandfather pulled her out of the way. It was Marissa. I am sure of it."

"Wow!" Gary said rubbing his brow. "Snow saved Marissa all those years ago." He raised an eyebrow. "Why would your father go to  such extremes to keep you apart? Did he know about the paper?" Gary asked.

"I don't know. He never said anything except that grandpa was just a crazy old man. I wanted to come back and go to college here in Chicago. My father was furious. He must have sent these telegrams to keep us apart." She pondered.

"What about your mother? Gary asked

"I don't think she knew my father had lied about this. She was devastated when she found out. She took to bed for days after
she got the telegram. My father told her he had contacted the hospital to give his possessions to charity and he had sent money for the burial. I can't believe my father could be so cruel. To do this to us.. This, this is..." She broke down and cried.

Gary pulled her into his arms. "I'm so sorry. I had no idea Snow was your grandfather. I was told he had no living relatives.
That's how I got his things." Gary explained.

"I'm sorry I accused you of keeping this from me. I know you wouldn't do that. I guess if he thought I was dead, and when my
parents died he would have had no one."

She pulled away from Gary. "Gary, if he really did get the paper early and he knew about my attempted suicide. Why didn't he
know the truth about my death and about my parents?" She shook her head. "He couldn't see the future, he was just mixed up, He got lucky sometimes."

"Bailey, I know this is hard to believe. I know. I went through the same thing when I started getting the paper. I don't know where it comes from or why. But I started getting it the day after Snow died and it has come everyday since. With the cat. I found out a little over a year ago that your grandfather saved me from being run over by a truck when I was 11. It was at that time, I guess, that I was chosen to receive the paper after your grandfather. Here, he left me this letter." He got up and pulled an envelope out of the desk drawer. She opened it.

      Dear Gary,
              I imagine by the time you get this letter, you've got a while lot more questions than I have answers. I can tell you that I wasn't the first to get the paper, and I doubt that you'll be the last. But I am certain that by now, whatever debt you think you owe me has been paid in full a thousand times over. In this you've found your gift. And I know you serve it with honor.
      I can tell you that we are the messengers between time and it's keeper. You of all people know how fragile life is. So
somewhere between the pages of our newspaper, Gary Hobson, find time to live it.
          Lucius Snow

Bailey quietly folded the letter and returned it to the envelope. Gary handed her a photo copy of the front page of the

"This is me. This is what your grandfather saw in his paper. This is what was actually printed the next day." Gary stated

"I just don't understand how this can all be. " Gary brushed the hair away from her face gently.

"I don't know either. I'm still trying to figure a lot of it out myself. Tomorrow we can go to the Sun-times and go through the old papers. See if we can piece anything together." He said softly.

"Bailey shook her head okay. "Gary, I think I would like to go home now. I'm suddenly very tired."

"Yeah, sure. Here, you should take these. Maybe there is something else in here that will answer some questions for you. Do
you want me to drive you home?"

"No. I'll drive myself. I'm sorry Gary. Thank you again for dinner and the bracelet." She kissed him softly. His heart broke in a thousand pieces.

"I'll see you in the morning and we'll go to the the archives." He said as he loaded the boxes in her car.

"Yeah, okay. Tomorrow."
Chapter 8

"Her grandfather was Lucius Snow? How can that be?" Marissa asked. Gary explained to her what had happened last night. "That was Snow? I had almost forgotten about that day. This is strange Gary. Poor Bailey. Her world just got turned upside down. She must feel totally lost. I can't believe you never went through all of the stuff in those boxes." Marissa stated.

"I don't know why either. I just never thought of it any more." He checked his watch. I gotta run. I have to stop a woman from getting attacked by a bird at a pet shop and then get Bailey to take her to the Sun-Times. I'll call you later."

Her phone continued to ring. Where could she be.  It had taken longer at the pet shop than he thought. The owner had accused him of trying to harm the bird and called the police. He had to stay and answer their questions. When he finally got free , Bailey
wasn't home. He called the Sun-Times. They hadn't seen her.

"Where is she?" He asked out loud. "Meow.' Gary turned to see the cat at the corner. He wasn't even surprised to see him there. He followed the cat. He ended up at the cemetery at Lucius Snow's grave.

"Bailey, I'm sorry, I got tied up with the paper." He apologized.

Bailey scratched the cat's head. "I found a photo copy of my suicide in the box. Then then a copy of the next days headlines. There were letters and cards I had sent him, little keepsakes. but nothing to explain what is going on. The day after tomorrow it will be 5 years since he died. Oh my! That's when I started having the dream. It was right after my birthday 5 years ago." She said in amazement.

"What dream?" Gary asked.

"Oh nothing it doesn't matter. Come on let's go see what we can find out at the paper." She stated.


"Morris?" Gary called out.

"Well, Mr. Hobson. I haven't seen you here in a while. What are you needing to find out about old Snow today?" Morris asked

"Morris, this is Bailey Vandercliff. Lucius Snow's granddaughter." Gary explained.

"Granddaughter? Bailey? Of course. You're the little photographer. I remember you, but you died. Poor old Snow almost lost
his mind with grief. Kept thinking there was some way he could have saved you. He blamed himself for the longest time. So how is it you're alive?" Morris wondered.

"My father lied about my death to keep us apart is the best I can figure right now." Bailey said quietly.

"Morris, we need to look through some old articles and try to piece some things together." Gary explained. Morris led them to
the section they needed.

"Here it is. It's just a small article. It ran three days after their death. It doesn't say anything about me." Bailey said

"That would explain why he couldn't stop it. He didn't know ahead of time. Why wouldn't he go over there. It was his daughter?" Gary asked.

"Maybe he couldn't afford the trip. No lawyer would have ever called him because he was supposed to be dead." Bailey said.

"I would like to ask Morris a few more questions." Bailey stated.

"Did he ever tell you why he never contacted my mother after he thought I had died?" She asked Morris.

"He tried." The number had been changed and was unlisted. He called your father at his office. He was told not to bother your family again. That his presence would not be welcome. He said you had been upset with your parents because they wouldn't let you come back here. You had ridden out on your horse angry. The horse came back and you didn't. He said they found you in a field with your neck broke. He blamed your grandfather for planting the idea of coming to Chicago in your head. Your father wanted you to continue your tennis career. So Snow never tried to contact your parents again." Morris explained.

"My poor grandfather. Dad made him feel responsible for something that didn't even happen. How could he be so cruel? Because of my father. Grandpa died alone. Thinking no one loved him."

"Are you going to be okay?" Gary asked "You look awfully pale."

"I just need some sleep. I spent the night going through the boxes.  Reading the letters. I just need to sleep." She repeated. "I'll call you later, Gary."
"I'm losing her Marissa. I feel her pulling away and I don't know what to do to help her." Gary worried.

"Give her some space. She has a lot to think about. When she is ready she'll let you know." Marissa spelled out.

"I'm scared for her. This is a pretty tough blow to handle. It's been over a week and she is still not returning my calls." Gary said. "You don't think she would try anything stupid, do you?"

There was a knock on the door. Gary sighed. "Bailey! Hi, come on in."

"Hello, Marissa, Gary." She said as she entered the room. Marissa touched her arm.

"I'm glad you're here. I'll leave you two alone." She left the room.

Gary stood and looked at Bailey. Not sure what to say or do. She made a step toward him and he opened his arms and she eased into his embrace. He held her for a long time. Finally she stepped back and looked at him.

"I think I am ready to hear all about how you started getting the paper."
Chapter 9

"Gary? Are things okay with you and Bailey?" Marissa asked.

"I don't know. Everything was perfect until we found out about her  grandfather. Now it's just different." He explained.

"I thought she had accepted the paper."

"It's not her. It's me. I'm just not ready for this. I thought I was. I really thought I was." Gary said as he paced back and forth in his office.

"What is the problem Gary?"

"The problem is the paper as always. I care so much for Bailey. I, I, Marissa. I love her but this whole thing has made me realize that the paper is too much for her to have to handle. I can't put her through this. I can't put me through this. What if something comes up two years down the road and she leaves me. I know how I felt that week I didn't see her. I know I would never survive it a few years down the line if she left me," Gary explained.

"Gary. Every relationship has to deal with problems. Granted your problem is a little different than most. You're not giving Bailey enough credit to handle this. Have you ever worried that I wouldn't be your friend because of something that happens with the paper?" Marissa wondered out loud.

"No! That is crazy Marissa." Gary responded. "I just think I should cut my losses now and save us both some hurt later on."

"Gary Hobson, you'd be a damn fool if you let her go. You've had it pretty easy so far. "You've hit a rough spot, but you'll get past it and things will be okay again." Marissa stated.

" What if they don't get better? Hmm? I just need to go get her and tell her, Bailey this just won't work. Ending it now will be the
best for both of us." Gary stated.

Bailey couldn't believe she had just heard what Gary had said. She was helping out at McGinty's again that night and had come through the kitchen and was standing at the door when she heard Gary tell Marissa he wanted to break it off with her.

Gary looked up in surprise when he was hit it the face with a wadded up apron. He saw Bailey standing there in the doorway.   The look of hurt and shock evident on her face. Gary felt his heart drop to his stomach.

"Bailey, I......." he started.

She turned and ran from the office, through the kitchen to the back door. Gary ran after her.

"Bailey! Wait."

"Don't!" She whispered. "Please don't do this with an audience. There is nothing more to say. At least let me leave here with a little dignity."

"Bailey, what I said in there." Gary started.

"I heard what you said. I don't think you stuttered any!" She said  angrily.

"Bailey, I am sorry." He said sadly.

Anger flashed in her eyes, along with a deep sadness. "I'm sorry too, Gary." She turned and walked away.

"Christmas, bah hum bug!" Gary grumbled. "How did it get here so fast." He complained.

"I wish you would get out of your foul mood. This is what you wanted. Just because she overheard it instead of you getting to tell her face to face, there is no reason to be so unbearable to be around." Marissa berated.

"She didn't stay hurt for long, now did she? You know she's dating a wide receiver from the Bears." Gary snapped.

"What did you want her to do? Pine away for you forever. You didn't even try to call her, Gary. Evidently she learned more from her grandfather than you did. She's trying to live her life." said Marissa.

Gary slammed the desk drawer shut. He sighed deeply. "Do you ever hear from her?" He asked quietly.

"Yes. But she won't talk about you or what happened. I tried to explain for you."

Gary cut her off. "I can explain for myself if I want to . Thank you very much!"

"Okay! Jeesh, Gary."

'Man injured in accident at Drake Hotel.' Gary read.

'A man was injured in the ballroom of the Drake Hotel last night at 9:30 when a glass globe fell from the ceiling.   The identity of the man has not been released at this time. A Christmas party for the Bears was being held in the ballroom.' "Great! Things just keep getting better and better." Gary mumbled.

"I'm sorry sir. This is a private party." A waiter said.   Gary tried to see into the ballroom. "This doesn't look good." He said under his breath.

"Excuse me. I"m Danny Haslett's brother. He invited me."

The waiter looked at Gary's manner of dress. Sweater, jeans, leather jacket. He raised an eyebrow. "Wait right here. I'll go check."

As soon as the waiter was out of sight, Gary snuck into the room. He looked out on the dance floor.

"Great!" There were a dozen couples on the floor. One of them Bailey and her date. She looked beautiful. She was in a deep purple beaded gown and had her hair swept up on top of her head. "Excuse me," someone said as they bumped into him, bringing him back to his task at hand. He looked up and saw the globe jerk. He took off running.

"Hey you! Come back here!" The waiter yelled.

Bailey turned to see what was going on. She saw Gary running toward Mark Talbot, one of the teams player's. "Get out of the way!" Gary yelled.

Bailey instinctively pulled her date back out of the way.

Mark looked around. He stood there looking at Gary charging him like a bull. Gary hit him with his full force. They both tumbled to the ground as the globe shattered to the dance floor.

"Are you okay?" Gary asked as he helped Mark up.   "Yeah, thanks man." Mark responded.



"Sir you're going to have to leave. I told you this is a private party." The waiter ordered.

"Hey, no it's all right. He just saved me from a pretty nasty headache. He can stay." Mark offered.

"I really do have to be leaving." Gary stated. Gary turned to leave.

"Gary. Wait!"

He turned and saw Bailey approaching him. His heart sped up at the sight of her. She stopped in front of him. She appeared


"Hello." Gary responded.

"How have you been?" She asked

"Good and you?"

"Okay. You sound like you have a cold."

"I'm all right. Nothing for you to worry about." He snapped. She recoiled.

"Well, I just wanted to say hi." She offered.

"You said it."

She stood for a second looking at him. She looked down then at him again. She then turned and rejoined the party.

"You're such an idiot, Hobson." He mumbled to himself.
Chapter 10

Gary couldn't stop coughing. He felt miserable.

"Gary you can't go out there today. Go back to bed." Marissa  ordered.

"I can't. I have things to take care of." He responded.

"I can take care of the paper. I'll call Emmitt and he can help me.  End of discussion. You go back to bed. I will check on you later. Uh uh.Don't even try to argue. Go back to bed."

If Gary hadn't felt so bad he would have put up more of a fight. "Okay. You win. I'm going back to bed."

Marissa waited until she heard him climb the stairs and the door to his loft close before she dialed the phone.

"Hello, Bailey. This is Marissa. I have a huge favor to ask of you."

Marissa brought Gary the paper that evening. "How did it go?" He asked.

"Everything all taken care of. See for yourself." She said as she handed him the paper.

"Here is some chicken noodle soup and some cold and flu tablets for you to take. Would you like some more juice?" She asked.

"No, I'm good, thanks. So everything went all right today?" He wondered.

"Yes, Gary. Are you surprised that someone else could handle the paper?"

"No. I, I. Thank you Marissa. I'm sure I'll feel well enough tomorrow to take care of it." Gary responded.

"You didn't tell him that I was the one who took care of the paper yesterday did you?" Bailey questioned.

"No I didn't. I think I should. I felt bad about keeping it from him." Marissa stated.

"This was your idea, Marissa and I only agreed to do it, if you wouldn't tell Gary. If you tell him he'll force himself to get out of that bed and take care of it himself. He doesn't want anything to do with me." Bailey said sadly.

"That's not true. He has been, well he's been. He misses you terribly. You just have to understand what he has gone through. He's had his heart broken so many times because of the paper it is just hard for him to take the risk. It scared him when he thought he was losing you when you found out about your grandfather. He never meant for you to over hear what he said. He was sounding off to me. I don't think he would have ever gone through with telling you." Marissa explained.

"It's too late now. I don't think Gary will ever let me back into his life. I wish he would. I miss him terribly." Bailey stated.

"He misses you too. If you could just try to talk to him, tell him how you feel." Marissa encouraged.

"I'll think about it. Right now I have this to take care of." She said tapping the paper on her hand.


Marissa took Gary the paper and more soup.   "Gary I ran into Bailey today. Have you thought of contacting her?  I think she really misses you."

"I'm sure her football player is good enough company. I probably don't even cross her mind." He spat out.

"You pig headed fool! Are you just going to let happiness walk right out of your life without a fight? This is not the Gary I know and admire." Marissa said shaking her head.

Marissa always knew what to say to make Gary see things clearer. "You think she really misses me?" He asked hopefully.

"Yes, I do."

"You sound like you're feeling better today." Marissa uttered.

"I am, thank you very much. For taking care of me and the paper."  He offered.

"So now that you are feeling better, are you going to call her?"

"I've been thinking about what you said. And I am going to do better  than call her. I'm going to see her and I'm going to ask her to marry me."

"Gary!" Marissa exclaimed. "When?"

"I've got some time this afternoon and I am going shopping for a ring. I thought maybe the day after tomorrow. That would be the night before Christmas Eve and then we could spend Christmas together with Mom and Dad." Gary explained.

Marissa grabbed him and hugged him. "Oh, I am so happy for you."  Marissa cried.

He laughed. "So you think she will say yes?"

"I'm sure she will." Marissa answered.


That evening he held out the ring for Marissa to examine. She ran her fingers across the stone. It was a one carat, emerald cut diamond in a tiffany setting. "I'm sure it's beautiful, Gary. Have you called her yet?"

"No. I thought I would surprise her."

"It's under the 'Around Town' section. 'Bears wide receiver, Danny Haslett, popped the question to short time girlfriend, Bailey Vandercliff, last night at O'Briens. Witness could not say if Miss Vandercliff said "yes". Can you believe this? I can't believe I let
you talk me into this, Marissa." Gary accused.

"It didn't say she said yes. You just have to beat him to the punch. You change things in the paper everyday, Gary." Marissa
encouraged. "Change this."

"What if she wants to marry him? What if she tells me no? Then I end up looking like a fool."

"Gary, if you love her and want to marry her, ask her. Give her a choice. I know she will choose you."


He paced back and forth in his loft trying to decide what to do. There was a knock at his door. "Not now, Marissa." He called

"It's not Marissa. It's me." Bailey said as she entered the loft.

"Oh, I didn't expect you." Gary said.

"I know. I didn't want to intrude tomorrow. I figured your family would be here, so I wanted to bring these by today." She
held out a bag. "It's gifts for you and your parents."

"Thank you, you really didn't have to."

"I know but it's Christmas and I like to give gifts and well, I. Well I better go. I'm sure you have something to do." She said feeling she had made a mistake coming here.

She slowly walked up to him and kissed him softly on his lips. She stepped back and looked in his eyes. He looked back at her
and slightly nodded his head then stepped back away from her.

"Good-bye, Gary Hobson." She turned to walk away.


"Yes?" She answered eagerly.

"Thanks again. It was really very nice of you to bring gifts. You, you have a good life." he said.

She felt as if she had been struck across the face. She slowly turned and walked into the hall. She closed the door behind her.
She didn't believe she had ever felt so much pain before in her life. She numbly walked down the stairs to the office.

"Bailey? How did it go?" Marissa asked.

"I don't know why I keep torturing myself. He told me to have a good  life." Her voice cracked. "I'm sorry. Merry Christmas Marissa. I'll see you soon."

"Bailey, wait!" Marissa called after her.

"Because she deserves better than the life I can give her. The paper takes up so much of my time." Gary explained.

"So you just make that decision for her? Gary she loves you. Both of you are such fools. Both of you have too much pride to just tell each other that you love each other. She was heartbroke when she left here. She wants you Gary. The paper doesn't matter to her." Marissa scolded.

"She may think that now, but she just doesn't understand what it is like to handle the paper. How demanding it can be." He stated.

Marissa laughed. "She understands fully. Those three days you were sick. She is the one who took care of the paper, not me." She revealed.

"What? Why didn't you tell me?" he asked shocked.

"Because she asked me not to, but I am sick and tired of you two dancing around your happiness. You go to that girl and tell her you love her or so help me Gary, I don't know if I will ever forgive you." Marissa warned.

Gary stood quietly looking at the newspaper.

"Gary? What is it?" she asked

It always amazed him how Marissa instinctively knew something was wrong.

"The article on Bailey. It changed. She said 'yes'. She's marrying her wide receiver."

Chapter 11

'Woman run down in front of Soldier Field'. This was the last thing he had to take care of for the day. He looked at his watch. It was time. He looked around. The crossing light was still on. He heard someone running up from behind him. He turned. It was a woman fitting the description in the article. He put out his hand.

"Whoa. Hold on a second." He said.

"What are you doing? Let me go. I have to get across the street." She stated.

Just then a car came squealing around the corner. She stood and looked at the spot where she would have been.

"That car would have killed me!" She cried.

"Yes, it could have. What's the big hurry?" he asked.

" I need to get to someone. Someone I let go like a fool. I let pride and stupidity get in the way of being with him. I finally realized that there wasn't anything in this world that amounted to much without him in my life. And to think it all could have been over in a split second. If you have someone you love. Let them know. Don't waste any precious time." She declared." She looked both ways before she crossed the street this time.

Gary opened the paper. The original article had disappeared. He smiled.


Bailey stood in the cafeteria of the hospital. Just keep a smile on your face. She told herself. She looked at her watch. Danny was supposed to meet her here. He must be running late. The children were so excited with their gifts. She had spent days shopping to get exactly the gifts the children had asked for. The happiness that showed on their faces was worth it. Santa handed out the last of the gifts and the children opened them with squeals of delight,

"Okay everyone. Thank Santa for the gifts and we will have cookies and punch, then it will be off to your rooms." One of the nurses announced.

"Wait a minute. We have one more gift to hand out." Santa said.   How could that be? All the children had received their
gifts. Bailey wondered.

"But I don't think I'm going to hand this one out." Santa stated.   What was going on? Then she saw him. He came through
the door wearing a tux. He walked up to her and dropped to one knee. Her hand went to her mouth.

"Bailey Vandercliff, I have been the biggest fool in the world. I know I don't deserve you, but I love you with every fiber of my being and I can't live another day without you. Please say you'll be my wife and I'll spend the rest of my life making up for what an idiot I've been." He declared as held out the ring box.

She didn't even look at the ring. She just dropped to her knees and hugged him so fiercely they both fell over.

"Yes, I will marry you! I love you Gary Hobson. I love you!"

They both laughed with joy as did everyone else.

"Kiss her!" The children giggled.

They both tried to compose themselves. He slid the ring onto her finger easily and kissed her.

"Gary? What about Danny?" Bailey asked.   He pulled out the newspaper and showed her the article that had changed earlier, "Bears wide receiver reunited with old flame."


Bailey stood in the aisle. She looked down at her dress. The halter bodice was beaded with sequins and pearls as were the straps. The full skirt was of net tulle with floral appliques scattered throughout with beads and sequins. She carried a bouquet of
white lilies, tulips and orchids. She looked toward the altar. He was there. She smiled as he scratched the back of his head. He looked so handsome. He was dressed in a black tux with a silver banded collar shirt. He turned and looked at her. He just stared for what seemed an eternity. The whole room disappeared with that one look. He smiled ever so slightly. She smiled back. She looked to his right. Chuck was rocking back and forth, grinning from ear to ear. Emmitt couldn't take his eyes
off Marissa. She looked to her left. Marissa and Emily looked elegant in long silver dresses with halter tops.

"Are you ready?" Mr. Paige whispered. She smiled at him.  Thankful he had agreed to give her away. Lois was already crying. Bernie handed her a handkerchief.

"I'm ready."

A mysty figure stood at the back of the church, unseen by anyone except the cat. "Meow!"


I hope you have enjoyed this story. I'm such a sap for romance and felt Gary was in need of some. So I set about writing this story. It was a labour of love and respect for the show, the characters and those who portrayed them. I hope I did them justice.

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